It’s easy to see why rabbits are the perfect symbol to celebrate spring, beautiful to look at and bursting with life. They are a common sight in our fields and verges; munching on grass, running, jumping and digging. And, according to a UK charity, these behaviours are what we should be looking for in our pet rabbits.
The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) is the largest UK charity with the aim of improving the welfare of domestic rabbits. This Easter the charity is urging owners to spring their rabbits from the confines of the hutch, into a large secure exercise area of course!.
“What you see in the wild and what you see in the garden is very different,” said Richard Saunders, Vet expert advisor for the RWAF. “A lot of people keep a rabbit in a hutch, alone and with no space to exercise. This simply doesn’t let them act as they would naturally. Rabbits need to run and jump, and they’d never live alone in the wild.”
The charity is promoting its A Hutch is Not Enough campaign, which aims to educate rabbit owners and pet retailers on what rabbits need to lead full and contented lives. It stresses the importance of a large secure enclosure in which the rabbits can run and jump freely. “A Hutch should be a shelter as part of a bigger enclosure, never the sole accommodation,” said Richard. “People get much more pleasure from their pet rabbits when they make a bit of effort to give them the life they deserve. And if you’re thinking of getting a rabbit but can’t commit to meeting their needs fully then you should think again.
How is everyone doing with their New Year resolutions?!
A few weeks back we suggested some resolutions that could help improve rabbit welfare, and we’d love to hear if you have managed to do any of them. If not, it’s not too late, how about starting off by finding a retailer on-line that you think is selling hutches that are too small for rabbits, and politely e-mailing them and telling them. Remember that a rabbit should be able to take 3 hops in its hutch and rear up fully (so that they do not develop painful spinal deformities) – for an average sized rabbit (remember of course they should be kept in pairs so this should be a minimum) this will be 6ft long and 2ft high. Watch the link below. It will only take you a few minutes to send an e-mail, and could really help to make a difference.
It’s Binky Day! Please share your photos of Binkies, and let everyone know what a Binky is! Please try to use the word Binky today, and when someone asks you what it means, tell them how much rabbits love to run and jump, because a hutch is not enough.
It’s Fundraising Friday! Can you spare £1 to help us help rabbits? Now you can donate by text by texting RWAF11£1 to 70070, or you can chose to donate £2, £3 £5 or £10 if you prefer by texting RWAF11£2 to 70070 and so on. Funds will go towards our campaining and the ‘ a hutch is not enough’ project.
You can also help us, and treat yourself by joining and signing up for Rabbiting On magazine:
Argos hutch – 77 cms long the story so far.
Argos are selling a hutch, 77cms long that they describe as allowing the rabbit to stretch and run freely. We all know that that can’t possibly be the case, and that these hutches are cruel, and would not be suitable under any circumstances. Trading Standards have been contacted and are not able to help unfortunately. Argos have chosen to ignore our advice, so we have been sending press releases for the last few months to build awareness of our campaign and gain support. The most recent press release last week gained some good coverage, notably with The Guardian’s website picking it up, but also local press, local radio sations and specialist magazines.
So far, Argos have added text to the description of every hutch that says they should be used in conjunction with a run, and that they will offer a discount to anyone buying a hutch and run together. It is progress, but we would like to see them review their whole range, stop selling the really tiny hutches like this, and offer something more suitable.